October is a well-known awareness month in the medical and cultural space as communities around the world come together to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In Barbados and across the Caribbean region, CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank, hosts events known as Walk for the Cure, an annual 5K walk to support breast cancer initiatives, research, and treatment throughout the region. Barbados’ walk is recognized by CIBC FirstCaribbean as one of the largest breast cancer fundraising initiatives in the region (Source), bringing together thousands of supporters on the first weekend in October to walk through the streets of Barbados. Fundraising from supporters primarily supports the Barbados Cancer Society’s breast screening program.
Walk For The Cure is just one of the several ways the Ross Med community joined the local effort to raise awareness for breast cancer. Led by student organizations - Ross Oncology Student Interest Group, Women’s Health Student Interest Group, Association of Women Surgeons, and Ross Academic Research Society – Ross Med was well represented at Walk For The Cure. The groups collaborated to fundraise by selling pink and event-themed shirts and volunteering at Walk for the Cure by passing out water to the participants.
RUSM and Breast Cancer Awareness Month
On Ross Med’s campus, support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month continued through weekly bake sales with pink treats available every Thursday. RUSM concluded the month by presenting the Barbados Cancer Society with a $1,500BDS donation raised by the baked goods sales.
Another student organization creating community service opportunities is Black Female Doctors, a group that aims to provide a healthy space for Black women in medicine and a space for Black women and allies to be vulnerable, challenged, and grow in hopes of establishing a sense of sisterhood.
On October 23, in collaboration with RUSM Psychiatry Interest Group and Ross Pediatric Interest Group, Black Female Doctors hosted the first ever Sports Days with the IncludeU Sports Academy, a local charity organization whose mission is to assist children with adaptive needs by helping them fine-tune their motor skills through various sports activities. “We wanted to host this event to give the students at the academy an opportunity to not only work on their skills, but to have a day filled with fun activities, food, and music, outside of their usual setting,” said Roxanne Branford, medical sciences student, and community service director for Black Female Doctors.
Black Female Doctors and the other organizations involved hope to make Sports Day a semesterly event to provide their members and prospective members opportunities to give back to the community.